Preventing First Date FAILS (Part Trey)
Now for the exciting conclusion of our twofer tackling both #7 and #2 of TOP10 Signs You’re on a Bad First Date. Last week I shared the simple secret to ending almost all future First Date FAILS: Stop Dating Strangers.
How? Instead of getting to know people for the first time on first dates, I encouraged you to get to know potential dating interests in group settings – in community – ideally in a healthy Christian community. If you haven’t read that post, please do first.
But this naturally raises the question: “What if I’m not a part of a community like this? What if I hardly know any other believers? What if I’m not really close to anybody?”
Well that very scenario has driven many a sad single into the arms of “their soul mate,” only to find a soul mate wasn’t enough. That’s why if this is the case for you I am going to get down on my knees (I’m serious, I’m on my knees right now as I type these words) and beg you to STOP looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right and START looking for a Christian community.
- Stop asking people out
- Decline future date invitations
- Suspend your online dating accounts
WHY? Because more than you need a life partner, WAY more than you need a romantic interest, you need a body of real life flesh-and-blood believers where you can belong. Really belong.
Now I realize that you may have tried this before and gotten burned. And for that I am truly sorry. I wish every church were a healthy one, every small group study a vibrant one. However, I happened to have it on good authority that God has spread His beloved throughout the earth, including your corner of the world. Still, regrettably every Christian community you could ever join will wind up in the end just about as imperfect as you and I are. So know disappointment, hurt and misunderstanding will still come into play from time to time in any body of believers.
But don’t you understand that the very same thing is true of any romantic relationship? Once the chemically-induced high of limerence (that’s the psychologist’s term for being “madly in love”) wears off, you wake up to find yourself holding the hand of a very selfish, needy, albeit well-meaning individual. Welcome to the human race!
And now that you feel welcome, get thee to a church or Bible study or something. PLEASE do this for yourself. Romantic love is wonderful. It’s thrilling. It’s intoxicating! And if we’re honest, the hope of discovering this kind of love probably compels us to date more than just the desire to “get to know someone.” But the thing about intoxication is that it doesn’t last. And while it does last, it makes it insanely difficult to think clearly and make wise choices.
Friendship – the kind where you can be your true self and still be accepted, where you can give and receive counsel, encouragement and even correction – may not be thrilling or intoxicating, but it is wonderful (and in our culture far more rare than romance). Trust me! You want to know how to live and breathe in authentic community before you seek a potential life partner. And you want to find a potential life partner who is comfortable in community as well. And inside that sort of community you can both get to know one another.
Then in addition to saying, “Goodbye” to bad first dates, you can say, “Hello” to the relational, emotional and spiritual maturity that will make you far more than a great first date. You’ll become the kind of person who can enter a committed sacrificial relationship (in spite of your weaknesses, wounds and short-comings) and not only survive. You will be able to THRIVE!
If that sounds like a desirable goal, please consider this simple prescription. In fact, you can learn more about how healthy community can prepare you not only for great first dates, but a life-giving, life-long marriage in the 2ndstudy guide in our series: TOP10 Marriage Tips for Smart Singles.
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